By · @kzbrittle  ·  · Shares

Are you curious? I’m convinced that curiosity is one of the most essential relationship skills for a persona to have. Detectives are curious. Scientists are curious. Journalists are curious. But, more often than not, romantic partners aren’t curious. They’re certain.

Deeper Connections in Relationships? Here’s How to Achieve ItI bet if you took an honest internal inventory about your relationship or your partner, you’d find yourself more certain than curious. You might be certain about your partner’s goodness. Or you might be certain that they’re going to betray you… eventually.

Your certainty isn’t serving you. But your curiosity can. If you’re truly curious, ask questions. That’s what a detective, or a scientist, or a journalist would do. Here are a handful of questions that can help you unlock information, insight, and intent on behalf of your relationship.

1. Is Now a Good Time?

This might be my favorite question for couples. Can you imagine how many “misses” you’ve had just because it wasn’t a good time for one or both of you?

Imagine what becomes possible when you ensure that you’ve got your partner’s full attention at the right time. What if you asked, Is now a good time… before your next complaint, or bid for attention, or request for sex. Your partner gets to say “yes” or “no”. If now is not a good time, ask when you should circle back, especially if it’s important to you. Imagine how many misunderstandings you could avoid with this one question.

2. What Turns You On/off?

Believe it or not, one predictor of a happy and healthy sex life the couple’s ability to talk about sex. Specifically, they talk about what’s working and what’s not. They know that the answer to this question is important, but they also know NOT to ask while in bed. Ask in the car or the coffee shop. And be curious. Truly curious. Your genuine curiosity about sex might actually be more intimate than sex itself. That’s a win/win.

3. What Are the Rules?

Many couples grapple with the idea of “roles”. Who makes the financial decisions? Who initiates sex? Who’s turn is it to do the dishes?

None of these “roles” are relevant unless you have clear “rules” for how you’re going to navigate the relationship. In a relationship, you need to create and commit to rules that will keep the conversation going. The great thing about the relationship game is that you both get to make the rules. If the rules are imposed by one or the other of you, that’s a losing game. You can both win but understanding the game clearly and helping one another win.

4. What’s Our Thing?

Couples need a “thing”, an activity or a value or a theme that they can rally around and use to reinforce their bond. If you were in a business… which a relationship kind of is… you’d have a Vision and Mission Statement. That’d be your thing.

What’s your vision as a couple? What’s your mission, your value? Another way to put this… what’s your secret? What’s the “thing” that only the two of you know? That secret leads to deeper connection.

5. Why Bother?

This is a classic “call your bluff” question. You can work all you want on your relationship, but if you don’t have a “why” it’s in vain. Why not just walk away? Is it really worth it? Is it?

Ask one another in order to expose the upside of the relationship. You’re going to see what you look for. If you’re looking for an exit, you’ll find it. But if you’re looking for a core motivation, you’ll find that too. Ideally, it’s love.

Be curious. It’s an essential relationship skill for a person to have. If you’re interested in a long term relationship with your partner, be a detective, a scientist, a journalist. Don’t interrogate. Investigate.

* This article is adapted from the free eBook “20 Questions for Deeper Connection.” To download this free eBook, click the link in my bio below!

Zach Brittle

Zach Brittle is a couples therapist in Seattle, WA and author of “20 Questions for Deeper Connection” as well as the best-selling relationship guide “The Relationship Alphabet“. He is the founder of forBetter, which provides online relationship resources for couples.

Zach and his wife Rebecca have been happily married for 19 out of 20 years. They have two daughters, a mini-van, and most of the silverware they got as wedding gifts.

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